April 26, 2018 | Sandy Canfield

The NASA Student Launch is a research-based, competitive, experiential exploration activity. It strives to provide relevant, cost-effective research and development of rocket propulsion systems. This project offers multiple challenges reaching a broad audience of middle and high schools, colleges and universities across the nation.

On April 8, the usually quiet fields of Bragg Farms in North Alabama transformed into a small spaceport as nearly 50 teams from 23 states launched their student-built rockets in the annual Student Launch competition, hosted by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Teams sponsored by NC Space Grant included: UNC-Charlotte, NC State University and Lenoir Rhyne University.

UNC-Charlotte’s 49er Rocketry Club at the 2018 NASA Student Launch Initiative.

All three teams competed well, but for UNC-Charlotte, the competition flight was an overwhelming success. Rocket Rick hit an apogee of 5381 feet — 101 feet above our target altitude — and was fully recoverable. Their rover, Sally’s Love Bug, performed beautifully with a flawless deployment. It traversed a total distance of 106 inches, exceeding the minimum requirement of 60 inches traveled, and it successfully deployed solar panels!

Watch UNC-Charlotte’s Rocket Team at NASA’s Student Launch Initiative:

UNC-Charlotte earned the following awards at the NASA Student Launch Initiative competition:

MAE 481 – Space section first, full-scale launch test of rocket and controller designs. Created by MAE students: Sarah Crawford, Hansan Hao, Matthew Lampe, and Stephen Scheuerle


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